Growing up in Boston, Andrea saw how our education system sets some children up for a lifetime of success and leaves far too many behind. Our Boston Public Schools are filled with dedicated teachers and staff and passionate families. Despite their efforts, access to quality schools is still too inconsistent and often limited based on race, class, and geography.
Today we see this inequity play out on a massive, heartbreaking scale. Children who live in downtown Boston have an 80% chance of getting into a high-quality BPS school, while children who live in Mattapan have only a 5% chance. Only 6 out of 10 of children who don’t attend our exam schools will graduate from high school and only 2 in 10 will graduate from college. For English Language Learners and special education students, this achievement gap is even more stark. Remote learning during COVID-19 has only deepened this inequity.
We can’t tolerate this inequity any longer. On the City Council, Andrea has been a champion for change in our Boston Public Schools. After meeting with families, teachers, students and community activists, she released her Action for Boston Children plan, a comprehensive strategy to bring equity to our public schools.
As Mayor, Andrea will:
Make BPS more transparent and accountable to families – especially during the pandemic. For months, Andrea pushed the Boston Public Schools to report data on Chromebook distribution and other crucial metrics around remote learning, only to be stonewalled. When it was finally released, the data showed that many students of color still lack access to the devices and remote learning they were promised. This can’t be allowed to happen going forward – and we must do more to close the City’s digital divide.
Ensure equitable access to quality schools. Families deserve a simple, equitable way to learn about and enroll in school. That must include resolving inequities in the student assignment system, leveling the playing field for exam school admissions, and prioritizing the placement of more special education and English Language Learner programs in high-demand schools.
Empower and trust families and educators. Andrea believes schools are accountable for supporting students and families, and the central office must be accountable to schools – not the other way around. A great school is built by caring adults who are close to our children, paired with the resources and flexibilities they need to get things done. We need to remake the role of the central office and district leadership to make that possible.
Keep promises to children and families. Over the past six years, BPS has released thousands of pages of reports, but with little progress to show for it. We need to close the continued gap in early childhood and pre-k quality access. We must follow through on action to improve our open-enrollment high schools so there are numerous pathways for success through BPS. And we should reassess the goals and approach of BuildBPS to ensure our children and educators have the functional, joyful school buildings they deserve.
Build a diverse, consistent talent pipeline. We need teachers and principals that reflect the children we serve in Boston public schools, and those educators require support and investment to succeed. And once we identify them, we need to keep them — turnover continues to be too high for teachers, principals, and central office staff.